Thoughts on Teamwork

By | 07/11/2007

Teamwork is a pain because it requires the collaboration of others. As Social Media people this may not sound like a challenge to you since you love having un-conferences and such but to others it’s a real challenge. Someone currently living in my home was telling me about how she would have to do the work of two people because the person whom she was meant to do teamwork with did not understand the question.

That’s where doing my university course has it’s merits. Whilst it’s called a Mickey Mouse course by those that choose to do more scientifically based studies there is great value in this area of studies. One of those is the ability to lead a team, to be no more than a cog and more. Over a period of weeks I was producer on three out of four multicamera programs we did during the second year. The team was comprised of about 20 people. Three crews of three for getting stories, three camera operators for the show, one vision mixer, one PA, one AP. one director and so on. You get the picture.

Add to the size of this team that they’re students and you see where the problems will occur. The first one is motivation. You need to find the people that agree to work with each other, check that they have the cameras and that everything is in working order. You need to make sure that what they are gathering will fit into the subject of the program.

That’s another phase. Script writing. On two out of three programs everything went well. The person that was asked to write the script did so and we had the presenters to deliver the dialogue. The problem occured one day when I had depended on a person to write the script but nothing had been done. It meant that the show would be less organized. Our guest also cancelled on us 30 minutes before the show so phone calls had to be made to know what the key points were.

The other two shows went well due to the amount of work that went in. I’m naturally lazy which means I’m great at deleguating certan jobs. I enjoyed handing out the filming assignments, making sure that all the footage was shot, that the material was ready and that everything would go well during the show. I also liked that I could really depend on my PA for the paperwork side of things.

Through professional placements I have had before doing this university course I was experienced enough with the technical side to resolve most problems without too much trouble.

Through that experience what I learned is the importance of understanding what your role is and knowing how to react immediatly in case of problems. If there’s no script find someone that you know can write to prepare the script. If there’s no presenter select the same person rather than do it yourself. As producer your role is to oversee the whole project. You’ve got to be strong charactered and confident. You also have to be patient. That can be quite a challenge.

When you work with people who know little or nothing about computing you need a lot of patience. “Do I look worried?” is a question I love to ask people I’m helping with their editing problems, “no”, that’s when I answer “Only worry if I look worried because that’s when something bad has happened”. As a result I hope it helps to put them at ease. I remember working with one person who knew absolutely nothing about computers and she’s about my age. She was so nervous and so worried that it took all my self control to remain calm. I did remain calm. It’s a high pressure environment (especially in the real world) and it is essential for everyone to be calm and pull their own weight.

Through a variety of experiences in television work and student work I have learned about teamwork and what works best. As a result I feel that I have an advantage over people have never had the opportunity to have such big groups to work with. I enjoy teamwork and I’m looking forward to many more assignments in the near future. I’m impatient to get back into a professional television working environment where everyone knows their role and works well as a team. Hopefully with my efforts that will be soon.

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